The Hoogeveen Masters matches continued on Tuesday 18th October with Round 3. The scores between Nigel Short and Yifan Hou and Ivan Sokolov and Jorden Van Foreest had been level at 1-point each. However, this would change as both games saw the younger players being outplayed as Black.
Revenge is sweet, and it was for Ivan Sokolov, who had lost quite comprehensively against Jorden Van Foreest in round 2. In this round, he comprehensively showed his authority by grabbing his opponent firmly around the neck … figuratively speaking of course. The game was a King’s Indian and it was Black’s 12…Qa5(??) which set the ball rolling for White. It was just out of context, to make such a bold move on the Queenside, when White was making all kinds of progress on the Kingside. This needed Black’s attention.
After 13.hxg6(!) White took a firm grip on the position and Black was in serious trouble. Such was White’s command, that the Black Queen would not have opportunity to move again. In the end, with not only the Queen, but also a knight stuck over on the wrong wing, Black was powerless to defend against Sokolov’s threats, a rook was given for knight to foil one mate, but there was always going to be another one and when that did arrive, Black was a sitting duck. A nice game by Ivan Sokolov.
Nigel Short also made the most of his White game against Yifan Hou. In the Catalan, Hou’s decision to enter an endgame with 18…Qxc5 (…Bxc5 was slightly preferable) seemed to lead trouble. Short immediately pounced on her backward e-pawn, and his position quickly became superior. From here he didn’t look back, with Black constantly having things to defend and two very sorry looking bishops on the 7th rank. Short won a pawn, and after an exchange of rooks, his experience decided the day with a very well played endgame, gradually working his King up the board in support of two lovely Queenside passed pawns. A nice game from the Englishman, who totally outplayed the Chinese prodigy.
This leaves Sokolov and Short in the lead at the rest day. Play continues on Thursday 20th October with round 4.
Standings after 3 rounds (3 more to go):
Short 2 vs 1 Hou
Sokolov 2 vs 1 Van Foreest